A bit of guidance: To answer the essay question, consider the following passage:
For as to what is to be morally good, it is not enough that it conform to the moral law, but it must also happen for the sake of this law; otherwise, that conformity is only contingent and precarious, because the unmoral ground will now and then produce lawful actions, but more often actions contrary to the law. (Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals , Allen Wood, ed. 2002, p.6. AK 4: 390)
Explain what Kant means in this passage. How does the distinction between conforming with the moral law and acting for the sake of the moral law connect with Kants broader moral theory? Do you think Kant is right or should conformity with the moral law be sufficient for moral goodness?
Hint: This is not a guided essay, but you probably should begin by saying, something like, Immanuel Kant argues that mere conformity with the moral law is not sufficient for moral goodness. I think that Kant is right/wrong. In this essay I explain why Kant distinguishes between conforming with the moral law and acting for the sake of the moral law, and what that distinction means to Kant, before arguing that Kant was correct/mistaken.
Some things to read to read :
Kant, Immanuel, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals transWood, Allen W. 2002, Preface and First Section, p1-21. (Note that Kants example of the person who does the right action, but for the wrong reason – the shopkeeper discussed in class – occurs on page 13; Ak 4.397. Shelly Kagan discusses the example briefly in his essay, included in the Woods book, on p.127).
Michael Sandel, Justice: What is the right thing to Do? Chapter 5: What Matters if Motive/Immanuel Kant, pp.103-116.
Michael lacewing, Kants Ethics Routledge
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